Legacy Prep closed out its regular season with a 34-7 win over Rosehill Christian, and running back Dion Pinkard was a big part of the success. Pinkard, who’s averaging around 10 yards per carry this season, had 133 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries in the Lions’ regular season finale. After falling short in the Player of the Week poll earlier this season, Pinkard ran away with 80.3 percent of the vote this time.
“It means a lot,” Pinkard said in a phone interview Monday. “I got nominated a couple weeks back and didn’t get it. This time, they hit it out of the park. That was pretty cool to have all that support.”
Monday was a day off for the Lions due to a first-round playoff bye this weekend. Soon, they’ll start preparation for the matchup that will pin them against the winner of Halletsville Sacred Heart and Temple Central Texas. With the extra week of practice, Legacy Prep has a chance to fine-tune its game.
“We’ve got to keep working to getting better on special teams,” coach Clint McDonald said. “That, and just not turning the ball over. Those are two big things in the regular season, but when you get into the postseason, they become magnified a whole lot more.”
Friday’s win ran the Lions’ record to 8-1 on the season, with the only loss coming to Cypress Christian (9-1) in Week 4. In the loss, Legacy Prep scored 20 points – its lowest point total of the season. The Lions are averaging 34 points per game.
“We have a really good offensive line that gets us going,” McDonald said. “We’re also very fortunate to have more than one weapon. We have four or five guys that can carry it or catch it and go score at any time. We’ve got some guys at quarterback that do a great job distributing the ball, too.”
“It helps me get to open field where I’m really dangerous,” Pinkard said. “As soon I get past those linebackers, I can do a lot of work. The o-line does a good job of opening it up for me.”
McDonald agrees that Pinkard shines when he’s in space, but he also acknowledged his ability as a hard-nosed runner.
“He is one of very few kids that I’ve coached in my 20-plus years coaching that does not want to get tackled,” McDonald said. “He has a certain tenacity about him. He’s not going to get taken down on the first hit. He’s usually carrying four, five, six guys that are having to bring him down. He is built strong and has got good speed. God’s just blessed him.”
While Pinkard has the flashy stats – he just went over 900 yards rushing this season – he is quick to give credit where it’s deserved. “Without our o-line, we couldn’t do much at all,” he said. “They kept opening holes, and I just did my best to get through.”
The Lions’ running attack totaled 314 yards and had a 9.2 yards-per-carry average Friday. After the performance, Pinkard’s teammates, family and friends ran to the poll for him. Pinkard joins quarterback Jared May as the second Legacy Prep player to win The Courier’s Player of the Week poll this season.
“We’re a small school, but being in The Woodlands we know a lot of people, a lot of families,” McDonald said. “It’s really cool when our team puts it out for the other guys. The team is having a good year and they’re excited when kids are being recognized for the work they’ve put in.”